Origins of Tango

origins-of-tangoMany people during these massive waves of immigration had to adapt from a relaxed lifestyle in the countryside to a stressful, overcrowded, oppressive lifestyle of the big cities, where there were not many cheerful and recreational spaces. Physical and intellectual effort was required every moment; families had been torn apart and loneliness was everywhere.

This scenario was quite different to what they expected when leaving their homelands looking for peace and tranquility and the “American Dream”. It was perhaps difficult to imagine for these simple people from rural areas of several European countries, including Italy, Spain, Poland, Portugal, and also from distant and very different regions like the Middle East, Russia or Japan.

From these feelings related to being homesick and longing back, tango drew a lot inspiration. The music is very melancholic and melodious and has filled the hearts of the millions of exiles, and helped them deal with the miseries that this new and poor life in the city had brought about.

The unusual fusion of languages, cultures and customs generated the phenomenon of tango and, at the same time, a particular language or dialect was born known as “lunfardo” (it is a lingo characteristic to the Region of Rio de la Plata). This way of speaking was taken up by some Italian dialects and other languages brought by immigrants, which were absorbed and adapted to Buenos Aires and Spanish.

Before tango was born, around the year 1860, people from different countries were living together, such as Europeans, creoles, gauchos, sailors, Indians, blacks, and mulattoes, and they used to share their national dances and music, such as Austrian and alpine waltzes, pasodoble and Andalusian tango, operetta, Scottish dances, “habaneras” (Cuban music), polka, mazurkas, gang and milonga (based on fandango and black candombe). At that time, tango had not been conceived yet.